Xena is framed for murder by Ares
|Series||Xena: Warrior Princess|
|In-Universe Date||Year 0|
|Filming Dates||28 August to 8 September 1995|
|Original Air-Date||16 October 1995|
|Written By||Peter Allan Fields|
|Directed By||Charles Siebert|
|Order in Series||6 of 134|
|Order in Season||6 of 24|
|Order in Franchise||31 of 304|
|Previous Episode in Series||"The Path Not Taken"|
|Next Episode in Series||"The Titans"|
|Previous Episode in Franchise||"The Mother of All Monsters"|
|Next Episode in Franchise||"The Other Side"|
While traveling through the woods Xena rides, as Gabrielle walks as usual who is trying to see through the woods for a lake. Frustrated, Gabrielle decides to go find it on her own, after being on her feet for over an hour finding it, Xena tells her to not get lost, before riding off on the opposite direction.
When Xena comes upon a hooded swordsman about to finish off Teracles, the last survivor of an ambushed party of four villagers, she draws her sword and charges the brutal attacker.
He is a good match for Xena but not as strong, and as she readies a finishing blow he suddenly disappears, leaving Xena to tend to the badly wounded man as other villagers arrive. Distraught over the slaughter, they assume that Xena -- now covered with Teracles' blood -- is responsible for the killings. Unable to convince them of the truth, Xena manages a quick escape on horseback with Gabrielle.
Later, under the watchful gaze of the hooded swordsman -- who is actually Ares, the god of war -- the angry villagers devise a plan to capture Xena, who has ridden into a mountain ravine from which there is only one exit. Benitar, the village elder, begins discussing preparations for a trial, but is quickly silenced by Peranis and Grathios, who make an impassioned plea for swift revenge. Rallying most of the villagers behind them, they set a trap for Xena in the mountain pass using sharpened stakes and lassos and when Gabrielle is caught, Xena surrenders.
Xena is thrown into a prison cell where she is visited first by Gabrielle, who tries to console her, and then by the hooded Ares, who reveals himself and promises to rescue her and make her queen of the world. Xena is tempted by Ares' offer of complete power to rule the world as she sees fit, especially when he removes her shackles and magically transports them both to a magnificent fantasy boudoir. Finding herself abruptly back in her cell with Ares, he tells her that all she needs to do is call for his help and she'll have the world in her hands.
Knowing that the price of this power is too high, Xena resists him and prepares to meet her fate as the frenzied villagers haul her from the jail in chains. Tying her legs to the back end of a chariot, they get set to watch her being dragged to a grisly death while Ares waits expectantly for Xena to break down and call out his name.
Before that can happen, however, Gabrielle rushes up and loops one of the ropes around her own neck. Benitar intercedes, pulls the rope from her and risks his own neck by standing up to the vigilante mob. Insisting on a trial, he orders Xena be returned to jail and tells Gabrielle that she may act as Xena's advocate.
The extremely clever and observant Gabrielle puts together an excellent defense at Xena's trial, but to no avail. The final blow to her case occurs when Teracles, the wounded man Xena was trying to save, is carried into the courtroom and testifies that he can't remember anything about the attack other than Xena standing over him with a bloody sword. Benitar concludes the hearing, promising a verdict the following day.
Back in her prison cell, Xena is visited again by Ares, who makes an incredibly seductive appeal to her dark side. Before she knows it, she lets out a bloodcurdling cry, rips loose from her shackles and breaks down her cell door, overpowering the guards in her path. It is only after she accidentally lashes out at Gabrielle, who is coming around the corner, that Xena -- shocked at her action and the realization that she's totally out of control -- recovers and surrenders again.
Though initially stunned and heartbroken, Gabrielle returns late that night with Xena's horse intending to break her friend out of prison, but Xena has a better idea. She calls on Ares, whom she realizes is the one who murdered the villagers in order to get her back on his side. Xena tells him she will accept his offer if she is found guilty and cleverly manipulates him into promising that he will bring back to life anyone she wants to serve in her army.
The next day, when Benitar announces a guilty verdict, Xena calls on Ares to produce the three villagers who died in the attack. To the crowd's astonishment, they appear -- alive and well -- and Palinios clears Xena's name, extolling her bravery and selflessness in coming to their aid. Fortunately for all, Ares is gracious in defeat and appreciating Xena's brilliant gamesmanship, merely salutes her before disappearing.
On the country road, Xena and Gabrielle walk along, Argo following behind. Xena throws Gabrielle a thoughtful look, telling her coming back for her really meant a lot. Gabrielle tells Xena she trusts her, to which Xena tells her she owes her thanks. Gabrielle suddenly spins and slugs Xena on the arm. She grabs her fist and groans in pain. Xena glances down at her arm like someone examining a flea bite. Xena asks why she did that, Gabrielle who is still in pain says payback for hitting her. Gabrielle asks Xena how did those guys come back from the dead, Xena asks Gabrielle if she ever heard of Ares. Ares' voice can be heard, saying "Until next time, Xena, until next time", as the two women continue on the road.
Behind the Scenes
- Shooting Dates: September 14th, 1995 through September 22nd, 1995 (7-day shoot).
- This was eighth episode of the series to be written and filmed, but aired as the sixth.
- Kevin's beard was a fake which was glued on for this episode and he said that he couldn't move his face much for fear of it falling off.
- When Ares offers Xena any warrior from history, Xena mentions Agamemnon, Hector and Achilles and says that they are all "long gone", but a whole season later Xena and Gabrielle would walk in on the Trojan War, the conflict that Agamemnon spearheaded and Hector and Achilles died at the end of. Furthermore, in mythology, Hercules was supposed to have died long before the conflict began.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Kevin Smith as Ares in the entire franchise, though he appeared in other forms on Hercules prior to this.
- Xena acts as though this is her first time meeting Ares, though it's established in many future episodes that she was in league with Ares: in fact, he was the one who gave her the chakram. May not be considered a goof seeing as how in this episode Ares does refer to himself as her "mentor." It is likely that she just never saw him in person or in his real face since he and the other gods tend to take on other appearances to mortals.
- Xena doesn't use her chakram in this episode.
- Xena displays a form of superhuman strength that let her break the chains.
- Kevin Smith as Ares
- William Johnson (credited as Bill Johnson) as Benitar
- Christopher Mayer as Peranis
- Danny Lineham as Grathios
- Christian Hodge as Teracles
- Phaedra Hurst as Teresia
- Meryl Main as Areolis' Widow
- Sam Holland as Teen Son
- Ross Harper as Polinios
Appearances and Mentions
|Season 1||Season 2 >>|
|#01||Sins of the Past||#09||Death in Chains||#17||The Royal Couple of Thieves|
|#02||Chariots of War||#10||Hooves and Harlots||#18||The Prodigal|
|#03||Dreamworker||#11||The Black Wolf||#19||Altared States|
|#04||Cradle of Hope||#12||Beware Greeks Bearing Gifts||#20||Ties That Bind|
|#05||The Path Not Taken||#13||Athens City Academy of the Performing Bards||#21||The Greater Good|
|#06||The Reckoning||#14||A Fistful of Dinars||#22||Callisto|
|#07||The Titans||#15||Warrior... Princess||#23||Death Mask|
|#08||Prometheus||#16||Mortal Beloved||#24||Is There a Doctor in the House?|